It’s spring in North Carolina. Beautiful azaleas are blooming, pear trees are turning white, flowers are popping their heads out of the earth – and a layer of yellow pine pollen is EVERYWHERE. The pine pollen isn’t one of the things that tortures those of us with allergies. That honor belongs to things like grasses and oak trees. But sometimes the pollen’s so bad that you have to turn on your windshield wipers just to push the stuff off your car in order to see. It sifts through screens and covers outdoor furniture so that you have to wash the chairs down just to sit in them. It gets tracked into the house on our shoes and even our pets. My cat will literally roll in the stuff if there’s a sun spot there for her to enjoy. The only relief you can really get during these days of the “yellow scourge” is a good rain. The hours after a good rain just make the earth seem brighter, fresher. The colors of spring blossoms are more vibrant. It is simply beautiful – the world’s plant life looking like it should.
We have just experienced one of the most significant events in church life – Easter. During the weeks before Easter Sunday, we spend time talking about just how amazing and meaningful Easter can be for us. Much is said about exactly what happened, who was involved and what it meant to the early Christians. Since we are so far removed from those times, it can be difficult to really accept what God has done for us through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Honestly, I’m not sure how many of us can relate to a life without the benefit of God’s sacrificial gift through Christ. Eternal life is a mind boggling concept in itself. But each of us bearing the burden of a lifetime of sin…wow. Just wow.
We don’t have to imagine an earthly life without an afterlife because we have Jesus. It’s like North Carolina during pine pollen season. Things start out looking clean and bright. As time goes on, these beautiful things get covered with a coating of yellow dust. The colors fade and their beauty is obscured. Then a gift from heaven, rain, comes down and revitalizes the earth. The pollen is washed away. Then things look like they’re supposed to look – clean, bright and alive. God could have just said “I forgive all your sin” and let it go at that. But He chose to forgive and provide visual confirmation that the debt for our sins has been paid. Similarly, God could have made the pine pollen so small that there would be no need to fight the coatings of yellow dust. Sin is like the dust that permeates our lives to the point we can’t really get rid of it. Rain is like the blood of Christ that cleans our souls of sin. What a wonderful reminder from God!!